Disclaimer: Joss Whedon owns them, really.

Notes: Lise's fault. For my Kosling, who likes Jayne. You're weird, darling.
Spoilers: Er. Heart of Gold, I think. And, I haven't actually SEEN all the episodes, but... anyway.

Floating Through the Day
by Ana Lyssie Cotton

She was watching him again.

Trying to ignore her, he continued carefully cleaning the knife. Honing the edge just so, and oiling it gently to that it didn't corrode.

Air drifted across his skin bringing the scent of her, that odd wild flavour that tugged at him oddly. He brought the oiling cloth to his nose and inhaled the stench of oil and dirt. Much better.

"You were sleeping."

"Everyone does." He replied, irritated to find that even without knowing what she was talking about, he felt oddly guilty.

"He would have taken me, and you slept through it." She moved, drifting towards him, her scent wafting around him completely. "Turned over, rolled over, pulled the blanket down. Oh so many guns, Jayne."

He shrugged. "I was cold."

"Yes." River's head tilted to the side, "You don't like me, do you."

"It doesn't matter what I think."

"That's all right. I don't like you, either."

He blinked at her, "Oh."

"Tried to sell me, tried to get rid of me. Nobody wanted me." Her head drooped, "Dangerous little River."

Almost uncomfortable, he shifted back from her.

She touched him. "Mal. I like the Captain. But I don't like you."

"You said that."

A strange look came into her fathomless eyes, and she closed them.

Jayne was suddenly reminded, something Kaylee had said. Something about how River had closed her eyes when they were pinned down, and taken out three gunmen in as many seconds. He shivered.

And his knife was no longer in his hands, shiny with the oil he'd rubbed into it.


Her eyes open. "Yes?"

"I could try... to like you. Maybe."

"Oh." She held up her left hand, seemingly startled by the knife it held. "What a pretty flower."

"Can I have it back?"

"Yes. You keep it." Her hand set it on his table, gently, as if she were attempting to not crush gentle petals.

He watched her leave, drifting away as if she wasn't really interested anymore. Had that been a warning? A seduction attempt? Or was she really just so gone in the head nothing was normal from her.

Jayne shook his head and picked up his knife.

A flower. Right.